Mountain Muhabura can also be called Muhavura, is an extinct volcano in the Virunga Mountains. The land of “athousand hills” also host one of the highest peak in the Volcanoes National Park, Mount Muhabura is also the most easterly volcano in the Virunga range, and marks the border between Rwanda and Uganda. However, Muhabura is one of the most interesting and wonderful tourist attraction with a scenic view.
The word ‘Muhabura’ is derived from Kinyarwanda language meaning ‘The guide.’ It consists of steep slopes and considerably one of the most challenging volcanoes to trek through. However, it offers exceptionally breathtaking views of the Twin Lakes in Rwanda; Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo.
It is amazing that, while at the top of the volcano, expect to enjoy a wonderful and fantastic view over the other five volcanoes and the “twin lakes”. The top of Muhabura Mountain, hosts a crater lake and the vegetation is usually drier than in other areas of the Volcanoes National Park, with giant heather thriving on the volcano’s slopes.
However, it should also be noted that climbing this mountain is physically demanding and the slopes are very steep. The name Muhabura means sentinel in Kinyarwanda (the local dialect) and its typically shaped silhouette can be seen from Uganda, Congo and Rwanda.
Ascending to the top demands a full day and currently US$ 75 per person which includes the park guide. The trek starts at 07:00am from the park headquarters in Kinigi, from where visitors will have to drive / be driven to the base of the volcano. Permits can be purchased on the day of the climb, no advance booking is necessary and porters can also be hired for the trek.
Where is Muhabura?
Mount Muhabura lies between Uganda and Rwanda. It is one of the extinct volcanoes among the 8 chain Virunga volcanoes and ranked as the 3rd tallest of the Virunga Mountains, rising up-to 4127m. Mount Muhavura is partly on the side of Volcanoes National Park, Northwestern Rwanda and on the side of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Southwestern Uganda.
Guide to Climbing Muhabura Volcanoes
Climbing Mount Muhabura generally requires you to be physical fit. The trek takes you through the steep slopes and interested hikers should have US Dollars 75 if they are to engage in Mount Muhabura hike. You also need to have a rain jacket, sunscreen, some packed food, bottle of water, hiking books-strong and waterproof, insect repellents.
Hiking safari in Muhabura volcano can be done on Uganda or Rwanda side. On Uganda side, you will meet the experienced guides from Uganda Wildlife Authority who will take you through your hike starting from Ntebeko Visitor Centre. In Rwanda, meet guides from Volcanoes National Park at Kinigi where the park offices are. The park guide is allocated to each group of hikers and probably accompanied by the porters who assist tourists in carrying their luggage.
Hiking through Mt. Muhabura takes a complete 5-7 hours and prior setting off, tourists are briefed on guidelines and several aspects about this volcano. During briefing, the official will cross-check if everyone is ready with the right gear to begin the hike. The permits for Mt. Muhabura climbing can be obtained on the same day of hiking whether in Uganda or Rwanda.
Your hike will involve 2 stop visits before you get to Muhabura’s summit for hikers starting their trek on Uganda side. The first stop will be made at 3117m and second at 3860m. It is on the first stop that most trekkers have a rest and some lunch. The second phase is more challenging but can be hiked. Finally, while at the summits, you have excellent view of the countryside, surrounding volcanoes, Lakes to mention but a few.
Other exciting activities to expect to add onto your Mount Muhabura hiking safari include gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, birding, nature walks and a lot more. These are available both in Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Accessing Mt. Muhabura
By road, Mount Muhabura is accessible from Uganda and Rwanda. From Uganda, it is 8-9 hours’ drive from Kampala to Kisoro where Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in which hikes to the summits of Mount Muhavura can be done. From Kisoro, you can take a taxi or find a driver guide waiting for you to transfer to Mgahinga National Park or if you are traveling from Kigali, you will spend 2-3 hours to get to Volcanoes National Park where Mt. Muhabura lies.